From the Labor Commission of the CPUSA, updates, information, news, analysis, and organizing materials in solidarity with workers of the world.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Labor Resolution

Ohio Labor Says:
End the War!
Rebuild the Economy!
Make 2008 Elections count!

(This resolution, originating from the Cleveland AFL-CIO Retiree Council, was passed unanimously in April 2008 by the Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans, the North Coast and Ashtabula AFL-CIO Central Labor Councils, and is being circulated in other labor organizations.
The war is an economic disaster which effects every issue labor is supporting on behalf of working families, and must be dealt with in the course of the election campaign.

We urge your organization to consider adoption of this or a similar resolution.)

-From a letter from Ohio trade unionists
Resolution on the 2008 Elections and the War in Iraq
Whereas, the AFL-CIO, on the national, state and local levels, as well as the Change to Win unions, is officially on record as being opposed to the war in Iraq; and polls continue to show that 70% of the American people, including union members, believe the U.S. never should have gone to war in Iraq and should bring our troops home; and
Whereas, the two Democratic candidates for President, Senators Obama and Clinton, share labor's opposition to the war, while the GOP candidate, Senator John McCain, supports the war and President Bush's military policy; and
Whereas, McCain and the Administration has indicated they will make support for the war a major campaign issue and attack the Democratic candidates for their anti-war position; and
Whereas, the AFL-CIO has launched a campaign to inform its members McCain should not get the support of working people, based on his voting record, including:
1. his opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act;
2. his opposition to extending unemployment benefits and increasing the minimum wage;
3. his opposition to universal, affordable health insurance;
4. his support for NAFTA and other job-killing trade agreements;
5. his support for privatizing Social Security; and
Whereas, McCain has also strongly supported every pro-war measure in Congress, and has said he is prepared to continue the war until 'victory', for a hundred years, if necessary; and
Whereas, the war will eventually cost taxpayers three trillion dollars, and, so far, the lives of 4,000 of our troops and tens of thousands seriously wounded; and
Whereas, these funds should be used to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, to revive our failing education and health care systems, to provide adequate medical care and support for returning veterans and their families, to develop clean alternative energy systems, all of which would provide millions of needed jobs; therefore
BE IT RESOLVED, that we urge the AFL-CIO, their affiliates and other unions, inform our members of McCain's pro-war position and how his support of the war is directly related to his anti-union economic policies; and how the continuation of the war is fueling the current economic crisis; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the best way to protect the Democratic candidates from the GOP attacks on their ant-war position, is for our members to be informed of the economic ramifications of the war and to lend Labor's powerful voice in support of the Democratic candidates on this issue; be it further
RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution be sent to higher bodies in the AFL-CIO, Change to Win, ARA, and respective International Unions.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Hollywood to the Docks March
April 15th - 17th

Nearly 200 marchers from over 30 unions and dozens of community groups marched from Hollywood to the docks in San Pedro. Along the way they rallied for Good Jobs, Single Payer Healthcare, for union organizing drives, in support of unions negotiating this year for critical contracts, for immigrant rights, for economic justice, for unity and against racism, and for "taking back our country in the 2008 elections. Sponsored by the Los Angeles Federation of Labor the march included both AFL-CIO unions and Change to Win unions in a mighty show of unity. The march ended with a rally on the San Pedro docks of over 5000 trade unionist, peace and environmental activists and working families.

Farmworkers in the house!

Healthcare is a human right!

Maria Elena Durazo, LA Federation of Labor leader (center)
& LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (at podium)

Building trades in the house!

And Steelworkers too!


Thursday, April 24, 2008

A letter to Dick Dauch and the Shareholders of American Axle

Editor's note: I received this via e-mail last night from a woman who's husband works for American Axle. I have previously posted a letter that he had written to Dauch and the Shareholders (it can be read here), and really appreciate their contributions.

I have written a letter to Dick Dauch and the Shareholders of American Axle.
I ask that you share it...



I am sick and tired of the CRAP that Dick Dauch and American Axle is trying to dish to its employees and their families.

I can’t believe that this man has the nerve to sit there and offer insulting wages with insulting “buy downs” and “buy outs”. He should be ashamed of what he is putting our 3600+ families through. Let’s not forget the other hundreds of thousands families that are being affected by this strike too. Not only in our country; but world wide.

He seems to think that his “buy downs” and “buy outs” will be “cushy and comfy” for his employees. These figures must be enough to replace the 14 years my husband has in at your company, the fact that we have to completely start over somewhere else – without the same pay – and allow our families to keep our houses. In my opinion, this man will never offer enough for the damage that has already been done and the wrath we are about to endure.

He smugly accepts a huge salary and bonuses while he threatens to close our plants because we aren’t making a profit large enough. However, he fails to announce to the world that these 5 plants fund the off shore plants and the off shore plants rake in the profits. How do you expect my husband and his co-workers to produce enough to finance all of these operations? Meanwhile, he is taking machines out of my husband’s plant and sending them to non-union plants. It’s a disgrace! AMERICAN Axle …yeah, real American. For how long?

I resent the fact that he is turning our lives upside down. I resent the fact we have to start over. I resent the fact we may have to TRY and sell our home and my kids may have to leave their school and the friends they know. Above all, I resent the fact that this is all because of ONE man and ONE company’s greed!

I hope the whole Dauch family and members of the board can sleep well at night with their million dollar salaries; knowing their jobs and salaries are safe. While we are worrying and wondering how we are going to repair this financial and emotional mess that he has thrown us into. We can only hope that he acquires a conscience before it’s too late!

Jolyn Gismonde

Yet another reason for Labor to unite to defeat McCain!

From the AFL-CIO Weblog:

Pay Discrimination OK by McCain

by Tula Connell, Apr 24, 2008

So it seems Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) thinks it’s just fine if women workers can almost never get redress for pay inequities they suffer on the job.

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate failed to get the 60 votes needed to vote on a bill that would have enabled women who are paid less than their co-workers doing the same job to challenge the inequity. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama took time from their campaigns to vote for the Fair Pay Restoration Act.

McCain didn’t show up. But he did make it a point to say that had he bothered to vote (McCain has cast the fewest votes in the Senate of any senator not seriously ill), he would have opposed it.

“I am all in favor of pay equity for women, but this kind of legislation, as is typical of what’s being proposed by my friends on the other side of the aisle, opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems,” the expected GOP presidential nominee told reporters. ” This is government playing a much, much greater role in the business of a private enterprise system.”

Senate Republicans killed the bill Wednesday night on a 56–42 vote that denied the measure the 60 votes needed to advance it to full debate and a vote. The Fair Pay Restoration Act, also called the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, would have reversed a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision dismissing a suit by Lilly Ledbetter, an employee for 19 years at a Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plant in Alabama. Her suit alleged she was paid less than her male counterparts.

In the Ledbetter ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court said she did not file her lawsuit against Goodyear within 180 days after the discrimination occurred, as required by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The court let the company off the hook by calculating the deadline from the day Goodyear made its original decision to pay her less than her male colleagues. The law had previously made it clear the clock did not start until she received her last discriminatory paycheck. The bill would have removed the 180-day limit.

Saying McCain let down millions of women who are fighting for what they deserve, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney notes it’s ”appalling that women continue to earn less than men even though statistics show they are better educated.” Says Sweeney:

It’s time for Sen. McCain and Senate Republican leadership to stop making excuses and take long overdue action to rectify this injustice.

Earlier in the week, McCain stood outside a failing factory in Ohio to announce his support of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other trade deals that put corporate interests above the needs of working families. Yesterday, he took the opportunity to snub working women while in Inez, Ky., a community whose families are struggling to make ends meet.

McCain stated his opposition to the bill as he campaigned in rural eastern Kentucky, where poverty is worse among women than men. The Arizona senator said he was familiar with the disparity but that there are better ways to help women find better paying jobs.

They need the education and training, particularly since more and more women are heads of their households, as much or more than anybody else,” McCain said.

It’s unclear where McCain plans to get the money to pay for programs like education and training. According to a new analysis by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, McCain has proposed more than $300 billion in tax cuts for the wealthy and said,

unlike President Bush, he will pay for these tax cuts by “cutting spending.” But he has “failed to give details about what, exactly, [he] would cut.” According to an analysis released today, he would need to cut more than $250 billion from spending, above and beyond the spending cuts he has already identified.

Sen. McCain could cut approximately 20 percent from all discretionary programs. Alternatively, he could protect defense spending and cut 40 percent from domestic programs. Either scenario would result in massive cuts in key anti-poverty programs.

Better not enroll in those education and training programs just yet.


Paid for by the AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education Political Contributions Committee,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Penn Primary Showcases Potential Offshoring of 286,000 Jobs

From WashTech/CWA News:

April 21, 2008
WashTech News

Washtech Correspondent
Seattle, April 21

Potentially 286,000 jobs or 18% of Pennsylvania's entire job market can be offshored, a new study reported as voters get ready to head to the polls tomorrow in the next big Democratic Presidential Primary contest between Obama and Clinton. Even though economy is rated as a top concern, the campaigns seemed more focused on trading barbs over campaign strategy, and currently on, "who is more negative?"

Campaign finance offices show Senators Clinton and Obama have both spent $50 million since March, including for the Penn primary. This amount shows up quite in contrast with a Public Citizen report showing that more than a quarter million jobs in Pennsylvania are highly vulnerable to offshoring within the next 10 to 20 years[m1] . The Economic Policy Institute seconds the nonprofit consumer advocacy organization's report with a recent press release showing that a combined 1,041,000 Pennsylvania jobs - or 18 percent of the state's total workforce of 5.7 million - are vulnerable to offshoring, including the 286,000 jobs classified under the "highly offshorable", and 755,000 jobs "offshorable" categories, prompting to call for the need for new trade and tax policies.

On a national basis, the EPI data show that the workers most vulnerable to offshoring are those with a four-year college degree and that those jobs pay $8,000, or 14 percent, more per year than non-offshorable jobs. The jobs were analyzed according to the "offshorabilty index," created by Princeton economist and former Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Alan Blinder, who has propounded that White collar jobs such as accounting, editing, graphic design, among others, that do not require on-site presence but can be accomplished by phone and over the Internet are particularly vulnerable to offshoring.

"The wide-scale export of U.S. jobs is not inevitable, but rather is a result of our current failed trade agreements, which provide expansive new protections for U.S. firms to ship investment and jobs offshore," said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch division. To get the candidates' answers on the prickly subject, The Pennsylvania Fair Trade Coalition had sent questionnaires to Sen. Clinton, Obama and McCain last month. Both Obama and Clinton have announced that they would renegotiate NAFTA and the South Korean Trade Agreement to eliminate corporate loopholes. Their detailed responses on how to fix the unfair trade problem are posted at

Article continues here.

AFL-CIO and Guatemalan Unions File First-Of-Its Kind Complaint Under CAFTA

Complaint calls for Guatemalan government to protect workers’ rights and act promptly to end violence against union workers

Today, the AFL-CIO, along with six Guatemalan unions, filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Trade & Labor Affairs alleging violations of the labor chapter of DR-CAFTA. The complaint is the first of its kind under the labor provisions of DR-CAFTA. It lays out five separate cases where the Guatemalan government failed to effectively enforce its own labor laws and has fallen short of its commitment to respect international workers’ rights.

The complaint demands that the Bush Administration formally initiate dispute settlement proceedings and require the government of Guatemala to take all measures necessary to assure that trade unionists in Guatemala can exercise their rights to freedom of association without intimidation, threats of violence, illegal dismissals by employers, or targeted assassination. The petition calls on the U.S. government to closely monitor the implementation of all remedies.

The Guatemalan government made several promises, prior to the ratification vote by the U.S. Congress, to substantially improve the administration of labor justice in the country, according to the AFL-CIO’s complaint. Yet these changes never materialized, and the United States has applied little visible pressure on the country to comply with the labor provisions of the trade agreement. The government has yet to conduct a serious investigation into a number of murders, attempted murders and rapes directed at union workers and their families, according to the complaint. No one has yet been arrested in the two murders and numerous threats described by the petition.

“This petition will demonstrate that… labor conditions in [Guatemala] have remained unchanged or have worsened since the trade agreement was ratified. The level of physical violence against trade unionists increased markedly since the agreement entered into force in July, 2006. Violations of freedom of association and collective bargaining continue apace, and access to fair and efficient administrative or judicial tribunals remains elusive,” charges the complaint.

“Guatemalan workers are being targeted for their union activity,” said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. “Without the freedom from fear to join unions and bargain collectively, how can we expect any workers to benefit from a trade agreement?”

Sweeney called on the Bush Administration to demand that Guatemala enforce its domestic laws and meet its international obligations to protect workers who speak out for their economic rights.

In 2008 alone, four union leaders and/or their family members have been murdered in Guatemala, and many others have been victims of attempted murder and/or have received death threats. Workers who attempt to form or join a union, bargain collectively or conduct a strike are still routinely fired. According to the complaint, the Ministry of Labor does little to undertake serious investigations of workers’ claims and labor courts infrequently punish those employers who violate the law.

SEIU 503 Holds Political Conference

This is a cross-posting from our comrades over at Willamette Reds. While lately the only news that seems to be coming out about SEIU involves either a skirmish at the Labor Notes conference or disagreements between members of the leadership, it is refreshing to hear that there are some really positive things going on at the local level. Three cheers for Local 503!! And thanks to our comrades for letting us know, keep up the fantastic work!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

SEIU 503 Holds Political Conference

Over 400 members and staff of Oregon’s SEIU Local 503 gathered in Clackamas today for their union’s political conference. The crowd was multiracial and crossed age, gender, and occupational categories. Local 503 now has about 40,000 members and is nationally recognized for raising money for its political action committee. Over 150 union members volunteered to increase their political involvement at today’s conference.

Homecare workers spoke of winning paid training, workers’ comp and paid time off as political victories. Adult foster care workers—the newest group to come into Local 503—work with the most underprivileged seniors in need of care. Their bargaining unit is 3200 people strong. These workers are trying to negotiate their first union contract and win their first raise in eight years. Nursing home workers spoke of the large numbers of people in Oregon going into residential care facilities. A first union contract covering 5000 SEIU-represented childcare providers was signed in 2007. These workers continue to advocate for providers and kids. They will be leading a struggle for healthcare coverage which will be an essentially political effort. State workers spoke of continuing to make healthcare a priority in their negotiations and in their legislative efforts. One state worker who is a single mother spoke of having to choose between chicken and baloney because of increasing premiums. She emphasized taking healthcare out of bargaining and finding a political solution in her speech. Other state workers spoke of the need to expand the right to organize unions, gaining better standards of living for the next generation, building union power and expanding bargaining rights. “We’re not going to whine in ’09,” said one state worker. “We’re going to hold the line in ’09!” A Beaverton city worker called for respect at work and linked this to the political choices facing union members. An ODOT worker spoke against privatization and called for taxing corporations and raising the corporate minimum tax. Calls to eliminate the corporate kicker and raise the corporate minimum tax were heard throughout the day. All of the workers who spoke saw their issues in clear political terms.

Local 503 has played a lead role in capping pay day loan rates, has won collective bargaining for adult foster care workers, has fought for the same rates at hospitals for insured and uninsured people and has fought for paid family leave for family emergencies. Speakers were generally antiwar, anti-privatization, opposed to attacks on immigrant rights, supported universal or national healthcare, supported increased funding for social services and bargaining, supported expanding worker rights, supported taking positions in primary races which help the most progressive candidates win and said that being a Democrat should not be enough to win the union’s endorsement. These points were supported by most workers present. Even with this list of wins and struggles, however, Local 503 remains defensively positioned in a number of political races and in ballot measure fights. The “paycheck deception” ballot measure run by the far right in Oregon will kill the union’s political program if it passes and cripple or kill the union if members militantly resist.

Two years ago Democrats took back the Oregon legislature and gained a slight majority in the House. Local 503 has now targeted 6 key primary races in Oregon in an attempt to hold on to these seats and expand union power. At least two of the candidates running are union members and many of the candidates are first-timers.

John Kroger, running for Attorney General, addressed the assembly and gave as his lead points building worker rights and prosecuting employers who violate worker rights, helping the stressed child support system, supporting national health care, stopping meth and providing treatment for people with drug problems and consumer protection. Kroger supports Obama and used his speech to express antiwar sentiments. He is a former Enron prosecutor. Kroger said that George Bush “has taken this country and driven it right into a ditch.” He ended his talk by asking, “Are we ready to have a country where workers come first?”

Other candidates also addressed the conference. Ben Westlund, candidate for State Treasurer, gave a strong pro-union message which highlighted the damage done by private equity funds. Brian Clem said that he has more SEIU members in his district than any other candidate and said that labor support has given him such an edge that he is now running unopposed.

Barack Obama called in to thank the body for supporting him and to inspire the meeting. His phone call was followed by a speech by Portia Moye, the newly-elected African-American president of the childcare workers’ local. “We’ve won a voice and we’re not going to be quiet!” she said. She also spoke of her local union’s political agenda: healthcare, respect, advances which will help children and working families, funding and increasing political action. “No one is going to take this away from us!” she said. “We won our voice through politics. If lost, we won’t be able to talk to the politicians and continue to win for working families. All we have to do is set a goal and work for it!”

The union is facing a political attack from the far right. Ballot measures targeting teachers, public employee unions, trial lawyers who take civil rights cases and who sue corporations, immigrants and ESL programs, public safety and public services are being pushed by rightwing forces. Union leaders and a speaker from Our Oregon highlighted the dangers of these ballot measures and the need to fight back. The alliance needed to fight back and win, it was pointed out, will come from labor, pro-choice groups, environmental organizations, gay rights organizations and community groups.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Today is Equal Pay Day!!!

A message from CLUW:

It's been 45 years since equal pay became law, but working women still are not paid as much as men for the same work.

The Coalition of Labor Union Women, along with the National Committee on Pay Equity, the AFL-CIO and coalition partners, have declared Tuesday, April 22 Equal Pay Day for 2008 and have planned Equal Pay Day events, including a news conference and a National Call-Your-Senators Day to pass the Fair Pay Restoration Act (S. 1843).

The Senate is expected to vote on the bill next Wednesday, so CLUW urges you to contact your Senators on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Call them toll-free at 866-336-1015 or send an e-mail urging them to vote for S. 1843.

To learn more about the Fair Pay Restoration Act, read the AFL-CIO blog on Equal Pay Day. The blog invites you to leave your comments about pay discrimination.

If you're in the Washington, DC area, make plans to attend the Wednesday, April 23 Capitol Hill news conference on the Fair Pay Restoration Act (11 a.m. in Senate Russell Rm. 385). Speakers include Senator Ted Kennedy, Representative George Miller (chair of the House Education and Labor Committee), AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker and CLUW President Marsha Zakowski. "Women in the U.S. are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. If we are only paid 77 cents when we should get a dollar, our families suffer and the community suffers," said President Zakowski.

CLUW also encourages you to wear red on Equal Pay Day as a symbol of how far women and minorities are "in the red" with their pay.

Thanks for raising awareness about the decades-old promise of equal pay for equal work. Please visit the CLUW website for updates and additional information.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

American Axle Workers and the 2008 Elections

by John Rummel

The workers at American Axle are doing all they can. Their cause is just, they are united in their battle and unions from all over are giving support. However, the balance of forces in this fight is anything but even and they sure could use some help from high places.

Autoworkers are fighting two enemies at once: the company and a far right Republican government in Washington whose agenda is to make workers suffer and sacrifice for corporate profits. While Democrats are not without blame, the lions share of the mess were in rests with the Republican Party.

Of all the wrongs to make right in the November elections, those faced by labor should be put on a fast track. For 30 years, the Republican right wing has hit hard at the trade union movement; Reagan’s firing of air traffic controllers was just the beginning.

The scales of justice have been so tilted toward employers they have almost fallen over. Just think about what has taken place: Tax laws that reward companies for moving production out of the country. A National Labor Relations Board that should be called The National Corporate get-rid-of-your-union Relations Board. An Occupational Safety and Health Administration that has reduced staff and closed its eyes to dangerous work conditions. Free trade agreements that have made it easy for companies to set up production all over the world, have worsened poverty and inequality in every country where they have been implemented and have led to a massive loss of jobs here in the United States.

A political climate now exists where workers are supposed to feel lucky just to be working and have not right complaining about corporate salaries and the halving of their wages and benefits. “We have the flexibility to source all of our business to other locations around the world and we have the right to do so” said American Axle CEO Dick Dauch. Work for what I say or I’ll give your job to someone else he’s saying.

Workers can win under such conditions but why should it be so difficult? Isn’t it about time to send the Republicans packing?

In addition to the unity and solidarity being shown on the picket line, labor needs a Democratic landslide in the November elections – a landslide that sends a message to the next President and Congress that relief for working people is needed and a landslide that will give labor the leverage to stop and even reverse the corporate attack.

The AFL-CIO’s McCain Revealed campaign shows him to be no friend of labor. His voting record is dismal. He’s voted to bloc the Employee Free Choice Act, voted to give Bush “fast track” authority on free trade legislation and voted to block a bill to protect overtime rights. McCain continues to be a strong supporter of the Iraq war and there is no way the needs of working people are going to be met while we’re spending three trillion dollars on the war. In other words, a McCain victory will be a continuation of Bush’s policies.

On most issues facing labor, Senators Obama and Clinton have both pledged to take positions opposite from McCain’s. A huge anti-McCain vote in November will be a defeat for the far right and at the same time strengthen the hand of labor, the whole working class, women and youth. A big turnout by auto workers in November will make battles on the picket line a lot easier.

Story of a plant that closed

Manufacturing isn’t dead; it’s changing. Small and large shops open and close for more reasons than just market forces. Large conglomerates make decisions based on beliefs and bias I can’t fathom. A small shop where the owner works next to you can pay a fair wage and give a worker a feeling of self-worth. But in a large company, which is only part of a larger group, which is part of a conglomerate bloc, which is in part supported by the European Union, well, you feel overwhelmed with insignificance. But my fellow workers at Winchester’s needed and cared for each other. That made walking into the factory more than bearable.

The bosses said the union must cooperate and be more productive. So we gave them what they wanted, we produced more and faster. As we progressed deeper in this process, called a “high performance work order,” we began to cross over into what they said was their business and they told us to back off. We continued to try to do what we thought was best, thinking we were saving our jobs.

You might think the people who maintained the machines would be involved in the discussions on how to improve production. I was told by management that we have more important things to do. We who involved ourselves in the union insisted we could help. We saw problems in procedures and daily practice which we brought forward. I saw for myself those in management who understood and appeared to support our input. But for the most part I was in awe of the resistance and ignorance of the first tier of management. The bosses on the floor all reacted with angry statements like “It always worked that way before.” But they themselves couldn’t make a part or even recognize a good part from scrap. Truth, knowledge and facts were ignored.

Management opinion was they had enough dealing with us inferior, ignorant and lazy people. Bosses went back to the role they were most comfortable with, pushers of people and paperwork. With little hope left the union workers went back to the old order, hoping the agreements made in the past would keep the factory open. That didn’t happen.

We haven’t given up fighting for what the contract called for. We haven’t lost hope to get what the neighborhood deserves and the workers that worked all those years doing the best they could making products that they were proud of.

— D. Roy, a worker in Connecticut

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Model resolution in support of striking American Axle workers

Whereas, UAW workers have been forced out on strike at American Axle for the right to review company financial records in their current contract talks, and

Whereas, American Axle is demanding draconian cuts in wages and benefits at a time when they have increasing profits and the CEO is paid over $10 million a year, a 9.6% increase in his pay over last year, and

Whereas, in the current economic crisis American Axle workers are on the front line in defending basic economic standards, including wages, healthcare, work rules and more for all workers, and

Whereas, given the dog-eat-dog, pro big business atmosphere promoted by the Bush/McCain Republicans and the corporate rightwing, workers must rely on broad labor solidarity, therefore

Be it resolved, that ___________ stands in solidarity with the UAW and the American Axle workers in demanding that American Axle withdraw it’s outrageous concessionary demands and engage in constructive negotiations that will guarantee American Axle workers a fair share of rising productivity and profits, and further

Be it resolved that we call on all of labor to support and be prepared, as we are, to do all in our power to help win a fair contract for American Axle workers.

Send resolutions to:

Kenny Kapa, UAW Region 1

27800 George Merrelli Drive

Warren, MI 48092

and also send them to

UAW Local 235
Attn: Adrian King, President
2140 Holbrook Ave.
Hamtramck, MI 48212

phone: 313-871-1190

or email Bill Alford Jr., Vice President, Local 235,

Kenny Kapa, UAW Region 1 Servicing Representative, is in charge of collecting assistance for the American Axle strikers at locals 235 and 262; checks can be made out to Region 1 UAW and sent to address for Kenny Kapa above

Who’s got the power?

With all the hype around the elections, all the scandals coming to the surface around elected officials and the increased pillaging of our constitution and civil liberties, it’s time to ask ourselves what is really going on in this country.

April 4 marks the 40th anniversary of the death of one of this country’s great public servants, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King was an agitator who spoke truth to power even when it was not politically convenient, an organizer who lent his voice to amplify the power of the movement the sanitation workers were building in Memphis, and a visionary who shared a dream of a better America, where he hoped one day his children would be free to be themselves. His dream shaped that era. But 40 years later, in many ways it seems we’re in a place very similar to where we were then.

The year 2008 presents a historic opportunity for the majority in this country who see the need to change our approach to almost everything that has been touched by the Bush administration and its predecessors. These are really our wrongs, too, because we as a country failed to prevent the invasion of Iraq, failed to hold our elected officials accountable, failed to do much beyond the click of a mouse or maybe going out to a big march. So now we must ask ourselves, who’s got the power to change this?

This week thousands of students and workers in over 100 cities are taking action in the streets, in boardrooms and in classrooms during the Student Labor Week of Action. This powerful show of solidarity is making student-labor connections around issues such as access to education, the right to bargain collectively and to have a voice on the job, ending modern day slavery whether it is in a sweatshop in Asia or in the tomato fields in Florida. Article continues here.

Support Manufacturing Jobs!

With the continued attacks on workers and the endless layoffs and closings of plants, our comrades in Michigan put together this resolution recently to use during this election season:

Resolution on Saving Manufacturing Jobs

Whereas our manufacturing base is steadily being eroded and

Whereas this loss of jobs is harmful to our nation and the communities we live in and

Whereas those good paying jobs are frequently replaced with lower paying non-union ones that are driving down the standard of living for all working families and

Whereas the loss of our core manufacturing industry will mean the
loss of our technological edge and vital skills and reduced tax revenues for schools and public services and

Whereas every manufacturing job creates seven others and supports small business, directly and indirectly related to manufacturing and

Whereas the $170 billion we are annually spending on the war in Iraq takes away money that could be better used to rebuild our industrial base and retrain workers

Therefore in rebuilding our industrial base primary attention needs to be placed on locating these new facilities in communities with high unemployment and historic manufacturing centers, such as Detroit, Pontiac, Grand Rapids and Flint and

Therefore by rebuilding our industrial base and with it the construction of mass transit, environmentally friendly autos, affordable and energy efficient housing, and the modernization of our infrastructure, we will create jobs, provide cleaner air for all of us, lower individual family's energy bills, and allow greater energy independence for America

Therefore be it resolved that we call on the Presidential candidates to state their support for taking one-half of the money currently being spent in Iraq to be used instead to rebuild industry and provide jobs in the United States.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Alert from Working America: SAVE FMLA!!!

They're doing it again.

Last year, the Bush administration's Department of Labor took the first step toward making it harder for working people to take unpaid leave for medical and care-giving purposes under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

They postponed their attack—because people like you spoke out about the importance of family and medical leave. Today, it's time to act again.

Why? Because they've proposed new rules that will make it more difficult to take FMLA leave. But before they make any decisions, the Department of Labor is accepting public comments. This is your chance to tell them you oppose the restrictive proposed changes to the FMLA rules.

Here's one of the changes they're proposing:
The Labor Department wants to let employers contact medical providers directly, sometimes without employee consent. If these proposed changes are approved, your boss—or anyone at your workplace—could be allowed to call and question your doctor without your knowledge. This proposed change to FMLA rules could open the door to violations of your medical privacy.
That's an extra burden working people don't need, especially when dealing with serious illness. Will you tell the Department of Labor that you oppose this proposed change to the FMLA rules?

Here's another change they're trying to make:
The Department of Labor wants to require more frequent medical visits for workers who request FMLA leave. Who will pay for these extra medical visits? You guessed it—you will, either outright or through co-pays, and through lost time at work. Plus, you could find yourself footing the bill for all the extra paperwork your health care professionals will have to undertake.
Potentially sensitive communications with an employee's doctor should be left in the hands of other medical professionals—NOT placed in the hands of employers. Please respond now to let the Department of Labor know that you're against this proposed change. Our strength is in numbers—we will compile your comments and submit survey results before the deadline.

We only have a few days to tell the Labor Department how we feel about these proposed changes to the FMLA. Together, the members of Working America can make an impact. We've done it before—and with your help, we can do it again.


Working America, AFL-CIO

Update: DC Supermarket Workers

Update from the Metro Washington DC Council AFL-CIO:

Area supermarket workers overwhelmingly approved a new 4-year contract Tuesday. Nearly 10,000 Safeway and Giant workers – members of UFCW Local 400 – turned out for the vote at the DC Armory on a contract proposal that maintained pension benefits and no co-pay on healthcare benefits, as well as guaranteeing that Safeway and Giant will cover any increases in healthcare costs. Pay raises over the life of the contract for those at the top of the wage scale - which includes 70% of the current workers - will total $2.82 an hour. The contract includes a new accelerated pay scale for new hires that frontloads increases to “help retain workers by getting them more money quicker,” explained Local 400 President Jimmy Lowthers. Workers hired after March 30, 2004 have the option to switch to the new pay scale. “What do you think?” one worker called to another as the crowd surged towards the exits after the vote. “I'm happy,” the other shouted back. - report by Chris Garlock

Flower Worker Tour Schedule, Midwest USA

Stop and Smell the Roses:
The Dirty Underside of the Colombian Flower Industry
Flower Worker Tour Schedule, Midwest USA

April 3rd-15th
Dora Acero, a worker on Dole's La Fragancia flower plantation, will be in the Midwest this spring. During her tour, she will be speaking on her experience in the Colombian flower industry as a worker and a union member, and why her union opposes the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. See the schedule below to find out when she'll be in a town near you! For a more detailed schedule, please see our website, which will be updated as more information comes in.
The following events are free and open to the public.

Madison, WI
April 3rd 6-7pm A Room of One's Own Feminist Bookstore

Indianapolis, IN
April 7th 5-6:30 pm
IUPUI Student Center

Indianapolis, IN
April 7th 7:30-9 pm
Butler University

Cleveland, OH
April 10th 7-9 pm
Trinity Commons (Trinity Episcopal Cathedral)

Toledo, OH
April 12th 6 pm
Corpus Christi University Parish

Dearborn, MI
April 13th 10:15-12:30
Labor Notes Conference

Chicago, IL
April 14th 3:30-5 pm
University of Illinois Chicago (UIC)

Chicago, IL
April 14th 7 pm
University of Chicago

Chicago, IL
April 15th 6 pm
DePaul University

For more information about the tour, please contact Liz Hassel at For more information about flower worker rights, please visit our website,